Three races, three winners: Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia provided an exciting Phillip Island round with reigning Champion, Kiwi Craig Baird, taking his second season round win and extending his series lead.
Baird claimed victory in Sunday’s opening race from Saturday winner Daniel Gaunt, Steven Richards and hard charging Jonny Reid, who started from the rear of the grid. Nick Foster finished behind Reid in fifth from Matt Kingsley and Elite Class driver Max Twigg.
Thereafter, Reid and Davison charged to the front in the final race, both with fresh tyres – a result of minimal laps on Saturday after early Race 1 exits.
Reid’s fresh Michelins therefore allowed him to hit the lead early and pull away from the field and take the Race 3 win, along with a new lap record.
Davison also took advantage of fresher tyres and substantial set-up improvements to claim second in the final race, while Baird struggled for pace after racing on the same rear tyres in all three races, successfully keeping his competitors at bay to claim third for the final race and first for the Phillip Island event.
“I’m rapt with the round win. It was good to get the victory in Race 2, but the last race was just a tyre war between the guys who didn’t compete in the first race,” said Baird.
“I had to do all three races on the same rear tyres, so in the final race I just had to let Reid and Davison go and keep an eye on Richards and Gaunt behind me.”
Nick Foster finished behind Baird in fourth, ahead of Kingsley, Andre Heimgartner and Gaunt, who finished second for the round after a tough final race.
“I’m happy with the result compared to where we have been this year. I’m disappointed with the result in Race 3; we were running third up until a couple of laps to go,” said Gaunt.
“Our car was great here this weekend. We’re figuring everything out as the season goes on with our new team with Rusty and Wilson Security, so I’m looking forward to returning to Townsville and try to repeat what we achieved there last year.”
Behind Gaunt in Race 3 were Tom Tweedie, Twigg, Jeff Bobik, Richards, Shane Smollen, Marc Cini and Tony Bates.
Twigg claimed the Elite Class win for the round and leads the class standings by a substantial 81 points over James Koundouris.
Smollen took second place in the Elite Class for the round, with Bates celebrating his birthday in style with third.
“I struggled with understeer early but we sorted it out for the final race. I had a bit of an incident going into MG Corner and had to come back through the field, which held me up a bit and probably cost me second,” said Bates.
“It’s a pretty good way to celebrate my birthday. I’m going in for an operation tomorrow so hopefully I will be back for Townsville. It’s probably 50/50 at the moment but I’m hoping I’ll make it there.”
In addition to Reid’s Race 3 win, the New Zealander was nominated as the Michelin Australia Sportsperson of the Year Award recipient. For the second round in a row, Reid was recognised as the driver who most reflected the core values of Michelin; safety, performance and respect.
Kiwi youngster Andre Heimgartner also left Phillip Island with something to celebrate, awarded the Mobil 1 Hard Charger Award along with its prize – 20 litres of Mobil 1 engine oil.